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Bouncing Back: Building Community and Fostering Belonging

By IOE Digital, on 10 August 2022

Videoconference in virtual classes during the pandemic

(Image source: Faceless via Adobe Stock).

By Alex Wong, Social Sciences BSc

Starting my university journey in the middle of a global pandemic was not what I had in mind as I touched down (on a mostly empty flight) at Heathrow. I had never felt more out of sync in my life, lugging around my suitcases like a lifeline. The sharp contrast between reality and my ideal university life only served to magnify what I felt was missing from this new chapter – meeting new people, exploring a foreign place, while immersing myself in an academically rigorous program. Instead, the year passed by in a blur of lockdowns, zoom classes and monotony. One thing I did learn is that it is difficult to feel upbeat when the sun sets at 4pm as you’re watching from your window waiting for a takeout.

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My Work Experience Placement at Green Schools Project

By IOE Digital, on 5 August 2022

Happy schoolchildren learn about green energy with their teacher in a classroom.

(Image source: wavebreak3 via Adobe Stock).

By Sakura Goto, Education Studies BA

*From the 2024/2025 academic year onwards, the Education Studies BA has been renamed the Education, Society and Culture BA.

Have you ever wondered if undergraduates on a three year course can get enough work experience before graduation?  The BA Education Studies has got this covered with a new module, the Education Studies Placement Module.

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My route to IOE

By IOE Digital, on 27 January 2022

Pupils wearing blue uniforms and safety glasses in a Science class

Pupils at UCL Academy. Credit: Matt Clayton for UCL.

By Kyle Meyers, Education (Science) MA

I was brought up in an environment of highly motivated educators in the form of my grandmother and both my parents. My mother has been a co-ordinator of the Pre–Primary section of a prominent school in south-central Mumbai and my deceased father, apart from being a radio-analyst by profession, was the proprietor of Meyers Teaching Institute, where he himself passionately taught along with a band of teachers. Since 2011, the demise of my father, I had to shoulder the mantle of running Meyers Teaching Institute, along with my mother when I was 15 years of age.

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Mental health at UCL: you are not alone

By IOE Digital, on 20 August 2020

Man listens to a female student talking while sitting on a bench outside the UCL Institute of Education

By Callum Flynn, Psychology with Education BSc

Starting University can be a scary feat for anybody – I know it was for me. But my biggest concerns may vary from those of many others. Research conducted by UniHealth found the most common concern for first years is not the money, food or academic performance, which can all be major worries, but rather friendship and making friends. However, for myself, and anybody else who suffers with their mental health, this is often the biggest concern. That being said, all other normal worries faced by first-year students add to this pressure.

Regardless of the point in your life you start university, whether as a student fresh from compulsory education, or a mature student like me, it’s normal to worry. Let me tell you are not alone if you are concerned about things such as whether or not you are going to be able to make friends, if you will have enough money to pay your rent, what you are going to eat or if you will be able to keep up with the workload of your course. These worries are always a concern for all new students, but for some of us who face challenges with our mental health, they can cause additional problems – from panic attacks due to anxiety, struggling with low mood from depression, through to coping with bipolar disorder.

Well, the good news is, you are not alone. These conditions some of us face daily will not prevent you from achieving your goals. There is also more good news and that is UCL is fantastic, in fact incredible, at providing the right support for those of us in need.

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PGCE Music – The Covid Cohort

By IOE Digital, on 13 August 2020

PGCE Music - Think About Things

By Rebecca Appleby

It is a steep learning curve for everyone when lessons move so abruptly to the virtual world. It took my year 12s longer than you might think to realise that I, another person on a video call, could see them texting each other, even though you would think they would do me the courtesy of trying to be subtle. It also took my year 10s at least three lessons to realise that the trick of joining a call, turning your video off, and then going back to sleep doesn’t work so well when you forget to leave the call at the end of the lesson. I see it as reassuring, however, that my students adapted so well to online teaching that they behaved in their normal, creatively disruptive ways.

We are taught during our PGCE year that our skills in thinking on our feet when a lesson does not go according to plan will be honed throughout the years, but not all years contain the challenges that 2020 has brought. This year has been a masterclass in adaptability; teachers and students all over the country have had to adjust to the school closures, making use of technology, and working to keep young people engaged in their education despite cancelled exams. As trainees, we had to adapt to our placements abruptly ending, and the disparities in subsequent training and department involvement.

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A Room with a View: Learning through Lockdown

By fola.brady.19, on 11 June 2020

Just as businesses are adapting to the remote working environment created by lockdown, so must staff and students at the IOE in order to maintain learning during Covid-19.

On a personal level, this has taken me from my room in Camden Town to the left-hand corner of my mother’s attic (there are birds living in the roof on the other side and I don’t particularly want to befriend them). Yet, even from my “desk” (read: shelf), with its temperamental Wi-Fi, soundtrack of occasional muffled arguments or hooting from the ceiling, and even the carousel of visiting cats – I feel I will have grown as a learner by the time I return to UCL.

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Becoming a researcher at undergraduate level: You can do this!

By IOE Digital, on 8 June 2020

UCL Changemakers

UCL ChangeMakers workshop

By Omar Hallab, Social Sciences BSc

As someone who has been able to harness the power of conducting research at undergraduate level both inside the classroom through opportunities within my department and later outside university in the professional sphere, I am here to share with you the benefits I have gained.

1. Building confidence

As a BSc Social Sciences student, I have been rigorously trained in both quantitative and qualitative methodology.  Whatever UCL degree you are undertaking, you are likely to get exposed to research methodology in your field, especially through our Connected Curriculum ‘which aims to ensure that all UCL students are able to learn through participating in research and enquiry at all levels of their programme of study.’

The first time I witnessed real-life impacts of research at university was through a UCL ChangeMakers project – a Social Sciences Consultancy lead by Dr Katie Quy.  ChangeMakers funds departmental projects allowing ‘students and staff to work together in partnership to bring about improvements to the student learning experience at UCL.’ Our project consisted of collecting data from students to improve both their learning experience and student-staff relations. We designed a survey for students on our programme in order to gain insights into four key domains: demographics, module development, careers and administration. We then followed up by conducting focus groups. As a team, we analysed the data and synthesised findings in a report which we presented to our department at the end of the project. The department was very pleased with our work, and we have already starting witnessing fundamental changes in our educational experiences. For instance, the department has already developed new politics modules, and the Careers Service now specifically targets jobs for our degree.

The project felt very special since it was conducted by students, for students. I have been able to draw on and develop the methodology skills I acquired and I also got the chance to improve my writing and oral communication skills. Being part of this team exposed me to teamwork and constructive feedback and has allowed me to grow in confidence.

2. Career opportunities

My advice to current students is to definitely think about undertaking work experience during your studies. UCL has a plethora of resources to support you in sourcing meaningful, relevant internships that can help you work towards your future career. A lot of these opportunities are research-based, so do engage with UCL Careers!

In my second year I started seeking summer internships in the field of social research through which I could build on the skills I had been developing. I attended UCL Careers’ training sessions, which provide invaluable support on building your CV, writing your Cover Letter, finding internships and even editing your LinkedIn page. I decided to apply for an internship at Ipsos Mori and eventually received the position.

At Ipsos Mori, I worked as a Public Affairs/Market Research Intern in the Social Research Institute, with a focus on delivering large-scale evaluation projects for clients including the Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Department of Transport and the European Investment Bank. I gained exposure to diverse projects, each expanding on my capabilities as a researcher. I had the opportunity to work on topics I was passionate about – from roads reform and community cohesion, to investment finance and trade policy post-Brexit. I was encouraged to design my own timetable, and think rationally about how to distribute my time across the different projects. This internship was fundamental in shaping my professional character. I learned to be flexible, work well under time pressure, pay attention to detail and remain organised. I was able to undertake training sessions that directly fed into the skills needed to complete the evaluation projects. One of my favourite aspects of the internship was the intellectual and critical skills it required me to draw on. I was asked to think about ‘the story behind the data’, and engage with ‘the ‘bigger picture’. I believe this approach has now streamed into other aspects in my life, whether it is in completing data collection for my dissertation or reading an article in The Economist. I also gained a sense of the kind of jobs I should be aiming for in the future.

3. Considering further study

Undertaking research experience at university can be a great way to build on your knowledge, and navigate your position in the world of academia. My advice is to go ahead and email your favourite professors whose research you are passionate about to ask about future opportunities – many staff are keen on and encourage student-staff collaborations.

Many departments and research centres here at UCL are on the look-out for current students to help on research projects that are relevant to the topics they study. During the summer of 2019, I volunteered as a part-time Research Assistant with the Department of Social Science. Led by Dr Rachel Rosen and Dr Veena Meetoo, the opportunity consisted of a mixed-method evaluation of a local authority (LA) project for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC). We critically evaluated the literature on community cohesion and integration in the context of UASC in the UK, and worked on developing a theoretical framework through which we could analyse the data collected – answering the question ‘What values do the concepts of “integration” and “community cohesion” bring in relation to UASC’s wellbeing.’

As someone who is passionate about the topic of migration, this was a great opportunity to understand the mechanisms through which knowledge is generated in the field and learn directly from leading scholars. Intellectually, it challenged me to build a theoretical framework, an opportunity that made me strongly reflect about whether I want to study a master’s related to politics and migration.

Finally…

My final piece of reflection is this: Research can be an inward-looking task. Through research, you will find yourself reflecting on your passions, your contributions to the world and what kind of jobs you would like to do in the future. You will discover a lot about yourself through the process, and hopefully, you will be grateful for the person you have become through your work.

 

 

Debating Amongst the Best: My Journey at the 2020 World Universities Debating Championship in Bangkok

By IOE Blog Editor, on 4 June 2020

Assumption University Campus

The Assumption University campus was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Pictured is the lake and pagoda surrounded by the lush greenery of campus, glistening under the afternoon sun.

By Basak Su Aray.

Basak is a second year Social Sciences BSc student at the IOE and a committee member of UCL Debating Society.

It was the first weekend of November, and under the fluorescent lights sat ten or so of us, some scribbling last-minute notes while others studied the panel of adjudicators who were about to assess our performance. The trial for the 2020 World Universities Debating Championship was short yet intense, consisting of a single round of debating. By the end of the afternoon the judges had made their picks. Hearing my name called out amongst three others to represent UCL at the tournament was a moment of shock and joy I will never forget.

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Good places to eat and drink around UCL

By tina.yang.17, on 5 December 2019

Pasta. cherry tomatoes and mozarella

The city of London celebrates its great diversity in many ways. One of which is its abundant culinary choices. Simply exploring around UCL, you will easily find cuisines from all over the world. With so much choice on offer, it can sometimes be tricky to quickly spot the ideal one during your lunch break when you are ravenous after a lecture. So if you fancy an exciting food journey beyond what our campus canteens could offer, here’s a list of drinks and food that you can count on.

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Combining full-time studying with part-time working: if I could do it, so can you!

By Joana Maia, on 2 October 2019

Does working while studying seem impossible to you? Would you like to combine your full-time studies with some part-time working, but you find that too scary? This blog was written for you, then! I will share with you my experience as a full-time MA student and part-time worker, and provide some tips which may be useful for those who are students and wish to start working.

Person working sat at a table with a notebook and a cup of tea

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